A ‘Difficult’ Beach Permit Morass

The East Hampton Town Board, which has already agreed to require residents to obtain new permit stickers for parking and driving on beaches, discussed the plan’s details at its meeting on Tuesday. 

Current town resident stickers issued for parking and driving on beaches never expire. Members of the town board, mindful that more than 30,000 such permits have been issued — a number that exceeds the population of the town — have voiced the concern that many vehicles bearing current permits were subsequently sold to nonresidents, who would not be authorized to use them. 

The town trustees, who manage common lands, including beaches, on behalf of the public, support the board’s plan to implement a new permit scheme. 

New, color-coded resident permits, which will be free, will be valid for five years. The fee for nonresidents, whose permits will expire at the end of every year, will be $375. 

Permits will become available sometime this year, become mandatory in 2020, and expire in 2025, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in December. Permits for 2025 to 2030 would become available in 2024, he said. 

On Tuesday, Jameson McWilliams, an assistant town attorney, discussed several subcategories of permits, including a commercial lodging facility parking permit, issued to the owner or manager of a hotel, motel, or other lodging and to be used by temporary paying guests. No more than one permit per room, each inscribed with the facility’s name, would be issued. 

A cooperative ownership parking permit would be issued to co-op shareholders, Ms. McWilliams said, upon approval of an application and payment of a fee. Owners of condominium units would be treated as owners of single-family houses, she said, eligible for free resident permits. 

Some details are apparently still to be determined. “It’s straightforward until we get into a discussion about condos and co-ops,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said. 

While owners of condominiums, said Michael Sendlenski, the town attorney, can obtain resident beach driving permits, “residents of cooperatives don’t have that ability because they don’t own the underlying property, and are taxed at a different rate as well.” The Montauk Manor, he said, has a number of condominium units that are rented on the owners’ behalf, “almost like a motel or hotel.” 

“It gets difficult trying to track all this,” said Carole Brennan, the town clerk. 

Updated changes are to be presented to the board at its meeting on Tuesday. A March 7 public hearing will precede a vote to change the town code. 

In other news, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez told her colleagues that the town now officially owns the former Child Development Center of the Hamptons property on Stephen Hand’s Path in East Hampton, for which the board had authorized a bond resolution for its purchase in December. The plan for the building is to house community groups, with suggestions including a day care center and space for meetings, lectures, and performances.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said that she and other town officials recently toured the facility, which closed in 2016, compiling a list of components needing inspection or upgrading. She has also led tours of the building for nonprofit organizations and will schedule more. 

Also at the meeting, Katy Casey of the East Hampton Housing Authority told the board that the plan to break ground on an affordable housing complex at 531 Montauk Highway in Amagansett in April remains on schedule. “The plans have been delivered to the Building Department for review,” she said. 

Gansett Meadows, as the development will be known, is expected to comprise 38 housing units.